Complex chromosome rearrangements may locate the bcr/abl fusion gene sites other than 22q11

Mario Sessarego, Giuseppina Fugazza, Roberto Bruzzone, Alberto Ballestrero, Maurizio Miglino, Andrea Bacigalupo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Objectives. From 5-8% of Philadelphia (Ph) positive patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) show variant translocations in which at least a third chromosome in addition to 9q34 and 22q11 is involved. The formation mechanisms and clinical significance of variant Ph translocations are still unclear. The BCR/ABL chimeric gene encoding for chimeric proteins is always present and maps on the 22q- regardless of the type of translocation. We studied two apparently Ph negative CML patients with unusual karyotypes both showing a typical b3a2 rearrangement. Design and Methods. Dual-color fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) can visualize BCR and ABL genes and localize the BCR/ABL fusion gene. We used FISH to study the formation mechanisms of variant Ph translocations in two patients. Results. The chimeric BCR/ABL gene was located on a locus other than the expected 22q11 in both patients. In the first case the fusion signal was present on the 9q34 band whereas in the second patient it was detected on chromosome 8, involved in masked Ph formation. Interpretation and Conclusions. The location of the hybrid BCR/ABL gene on chromosomes other than 22q- is a rare event which can only be observed using the FISH technique. When these unusual translocations occur the hypothesis most often put forward is that several consecutive cytogenetic events have taken place. The factors which regulate the formation of these breakpoints have yet to be clarified. The FISH technique allows the identification of chromosome rearrangements that could not otherwise be detected by conventional banding procedures. The location of the hybrid BCR/ABL gene on sites other than 22q11 represents a rare type of variant Ph translocation. The real frequency and clinical significance of such rearrangements need to be investigated. (C) 2000, Ferrata Storti Foundation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-39
Number of pages5
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2000


  • Chronic myeloid leukemia
  • FISH
  • Ph chromosome
  • Variant Ph translocations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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